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Department of Agriculture passes organic farm grant

Times Observer art by Katie Miktuk Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced a $1 million Pa. Farm Grant.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced a $1 million Pa. Farm Bill Farm Vitality Grant Program for organic transition planning assistance.

This grant allows Pa. farmers to apply for grants up to $7,500.

Pa. is currently third in the nation for organic, is home to more than 1,000 certified organic farms, and more than 93,000 acres of certified organic land. Governor Wolf’s vision is to make Pa. the leading organic state.

According to the US Organic Trade Association, in 2018 US organic sales reached more than $52 nillion, up 6.3% from 2017.

“We live in a society where there’s a real desire for organic, local food,” said Redding. “These Farm Vitality grants were meant to strengthen Pennsylvania’s farms, and what better way to do that than by helping them to break into new markets.”

At the Pa. Farm Show in January, the Wolf Administration opened the 2019 PA Farm Bill $1 million Farm Vitality Grant aimed at enhancing the long-term health and vitality of Pa.’s farm families.

This program helps fund professional planning for farms for a variety of needs including generational transition planning and organic transition assistance.

The program approves and fund projects as they come in on a funds-available basis. The maximum grant amount of $7,500 and is limited to 75% of the project cost.

“In addition to the demand for organic, which continues to skyrocket year after year, consumers want to buy local,” said Redding. “They want to know where their food comes; to feel a connection to those working the land and feeding their families.”

Farmers who are interested in taking advantage of the Farm Vitality Grant Program should apply by April 3, 2020. Questions can be directed to Morgan Sheffield at (717) 787-3658 or msheffield@pa.gov.

For more information about the Wolf Administrations’s investments in growing opportunity and resources for Pa. agriculture through the PA Farm Bill visit agriculture.pa.gov or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter.

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